Hawai’i mounts major comeback, pulls even in MPSF with upset

Siki Zarkovic / Hawai'i Athletics
Siki Zarkovic / Hawai'i Athletics

HONOLULU – The University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball team pulled off an improbably upset of No. 2 Brigham Young, rallying from a two-sets to none deficit to win in five, Friday night, in the first of two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matches at the Stan Sheriff Center. Set scores were 16-25, 19-25, 26-24, 25-18, 15-12.

The rematch is tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Seniors Joby Ramos, Johann Timmer, Jace Olsen, Nick West, and Aniefre Etim-Thomas will play their final matches at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Rainbow Warriors (14-10, 12-9 MPSF) kept their MPSF Tournament hopes alive with the victory and moved into a tie with UCLA for the eighth place in the league standings. The top eight teams advance to the conference tournament.

UH was nearly swept out of its own building by the second-ranked Cougars, who’ve already wrapped up the MPSF regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the tournament. BYU won the first two sets fairly easily, 25-16 and 25-19 and even held match point in the third set.

But the Warriors would not go away, and played nearly flawless in Sets 3 and 4 to force a fifth and deciding set.  Despite committing nine service errors in Set 3, Hawai’i still managed to go toe-to-toe with the Cougars all the way to the end. With BYU holding match point at 24-23, Sinisa Zarkovic pounded a kill to tie it up. On the next play, BYU’s Taylor Sander hit wide giving UH set point. Then BYU committed a careless error on a miscommunication between setter and hitter, giving the Warriors the set.

After the Cougars scored the first three points of Set 4, the Warriors came roaring back using a 6-1 run to pull ahead 10-7. UH pushed its lead to 17-11 after a five-point spurt and continued to pour it on, taking an insurmountable 19-12 advantage.

UH hit .305 in Sets 3 and 4 but more importantly, sided-out at nearly 80 percent.

In Set 5, the Warriors scored four straight, with kills by Zarkovic and Jace Olsen for a 6-2 lead. UH continued to hold the advantage before the Cougars closed to two at 12-10 and 13-11. But each time, the Warriors came up with big points, as Sedore and Averill teamed up for double-blocks. After BYU’s Devin Young erased UH’s first match point, Nick West put down the winner igniting a wild celebration.

Brook Sedore led the Warriors with a match-high 17 kills and six blocks. Zarkovic finished with 12 kills, despite being benched in the first set after starting the match with four hitting errors. West added 10 kills hile Taylor Averill chipped in with seven kills and eight blocks.
Taylor Sander, a first-team All-American and Player of the Year candidate, led the Cougars with 16 kills and 12 digs. Josue Rivera added 12 kills while Tim Dobbert had 11.

*Courtesy of Hawai’i Athletics*

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